MFM Awards 2021 Winners – Breastfeeding and bottlefeeding products
MadeForMums reveals the top breast pumps, balms and covers, bottles and sterilisers in our 2021 Awards
Whether you've chosen to breastfeed or bottle feed (or a little bit of both) it's no secret that feeding a baby can be difficult, and that's why we know the value an effective breastfeeding cover or leak-proof baby bottle can offer.
Our team of home testers put a huge number of varied products to the test across these categories, providing fantastic feedback on the products that really helped them to feed easily and comfortably. We tested breastfeeding items like single and double pumps, nipple creams, nursing bras and breastfeeding covers, as well as vital bottle feeding equipment like sterilisers, bottle warmers, cleaners and prep machines.
We tested each product for its effectiveness, examining how well it performed at feeding time with both parent and hungry baby. We also considered the quality and whether the product was worth the money: especially if that money represented a big investment. With more complex items such as sterilisers, pumps and bottle-feeding gadgets, we looked in depth at technical features such as noise levels, longevity and capacity of battery life. We made up bottles of formula, tested their temperature and texture, and compared them to those made the traditional way with a kettle. The winners below performed well with both our home testers and our editorial team, and are the products we believe will really help make feeding time that little bit easier.
Electric/battery breast pump – single
Key features we tested/judged - Ease of use, effectiveness, quality, comfort, noisiness, battery life, worth the money
Gold – Lola&Lykke Smart Electric Breast Pump, £130
Easy to set up and use, tube and wire-free, plus quiet, comfortable and effective
Why it’s a winner: This pretty pump (check out the design on the breast shield) is packed with standout features, including intuitive touchscreen controls, 6 stimulation and 9 expression modes for bespoke and efficient pumping sessions. Cleverly compact, with just 5 parts to clean, the pump is super simple to reassemble. It’s also virtually silent and, thanks to a USB rechargeable battery, wireless – so totally portable. “It is so quiet that you can pump next to a sleeping baby and, best of all, you can move around whilst doing so, to use those valuable minutes,” revealed tester Annabel.
In the words of tester Annabelle, mum of a 1-month-old baby: “This is a very well-made breast pump that offers a wide range of massage and pump settings for maximum efficiency. It’s also convenient – no more sitting near a plug or dealing with trailing wires, making it brilliant to us when out and about.”
Buy from: Lola & Lykke – Get 15% off sitewide with the code MFM15
Silver – MAM 2in1 Single Electric Breast Pump, £130
Why it’s a winner: Offering 2 options in 1 space-saving product, this convertible pump seamlessly switches from manual to electric mode in 2 simple steps. “It takes about 30 seconds to assemble, which is perfect for a busy mum,” commented tester Annabelle, mum of a 1-month-old, who found the 15-page instruction manual explained everything clearly. In electric mode, it impresses with its rechargeable battery, which has a 5-hour life, an easy-to-use touchscreen, and an impressive 9 levels in both stimulation and expression stages. Our testers also praised the useful addition of the bottles and food storage pots with the pump.
In the words of the tester Vineta, mum of a 1-month-old baby: “This breast pump really made difference in my life. Such great quality, no pain when expressing milk and I now feel comfortable to express. Both modes worked just perfectly.”
Bronze – Philips Avent Single Electric Breast Pump, £180
Why it’s a winner: Praised by our tester Rayna, mum of a 2-month-old, for its “perfect-fit breast shield”, this pump offers a whopping 8 stimulation and 16 expression levels, making it possible to find a setting that is just right. Levels can be adjusted via a control unit that is “easy to navigate from the very first use” and even if you can’t, the pump automatically remembers your previous settings – simply press start to recreate your last session. Pumping is painless too – our testers found the one-size breast shield, which features a silicone cushion designed to gently flex to fit any nipple up to 30mm, “the most comfortable” they’ve used.
In the words of the tester Amy, mum of a 1-month-old baby: “The controls are so easy to navigate from first use and the shields are the most comfortable I’ve come across. Really impressed with the one size fits all as I have previously had to pay extra for a different size. The fact that it charges via USB makes it so convenient too.”
Electric/battery breast pump – double
Key features we tested/judged – Ease of use, effectiveness, quality, comfort, noisiness, battery life, worth the money
Gold – MAM 2in1 Double Electric Breast pump, £200
An excellent pump that’s robust and effective thanks to multiple strength options for bespoke pumping
Why it’s a winner: This versatile double pump was praised for its portability, thanks to the options of mains or battery power for up to 3 hours, as well as being “easy to assemble, dismantle and clean”. Our testers felt it delivered for the price point with double, single and manual expressing in one pump and with extras like storage pots and bottles included. It’s a product that you can really tailor to your needs with 9 different suction strengths in both stimulation and expression modes, controlled by a “sleek, modern display”. that allowed for “pumping personalisation” for higher milk yield.
In the words of tester Jessica, mum of of a 3-month-old baby: “I loved using this pump and found I was able to collect enough milk for a feed for my 12-week-old within 10 minutes. It is so straightforward to use – all I had to do was switch it on and press a button once the milk started flowing. The manual pump is easy to use, too.”
Silver – Nuby Ultimate Double Breast Pump, £155
Why it’s a winner: With a “neat and discreet” touchscreen control panel that can be operated with one hand, allowing you to easily adjust pumping levels (9 in each mode) and monitor expression time, this double pump impressed our testers. Purvi, mum of a 1-month-old baby, said “it expresses milk quickly without causing discomfort in the breasts thanks to soft silicone breast shields.” She also found it “super easy to assemble and clean” and noted that, as well as using the pump while it’s plugged into the mains, “the rechargeable battery made it great to use on the move.”
In the words of the tester Anna, mum of a 3-month-old baby: “This pumps extremely quickly and quietly – it’s noticeably quieter than other pumps I have used so I could pump at night without waking up the entire household! The rechargeable base station is a game-changer – it was fantastic to sit where I wanted while pumping.”
Bronze – Ardo Calypso Double Plus, £139.99
Why it’s a winner: This advanced pump offers a whopping 64 different combinations of speed and suction levels, making it possible to find a setting that is just right at every session. As well as the flexibility in settings found in a hospital-grade model (Ardo also make NHS-approved pumps available to rent), the pump comes in a kit that contains 3 pairs of different sized breast shields – and another 2 sizes can be bought separately – for a truly bespoke pumping experience. There’s even a brush included to “clean in all the hard-to-reach places” of the pump parts.
In the words of the tester Emma, mum of a 3-month-old baby: “The pump is quiet and easy to use and set up. It made my experience of breast feeding and pumping very simple. Its easy and simple to use and extracts milk fantastically.”
Shortlisted: Tommee Tippee Made for Me Double Electric Breast Pump
Manual breast pump
Key features we tested/judged - Ease of use, quality, effectiveness, comfort, worth the money
Gold – Elvie Curve, £49.99
Natural, efficient and discreet – I used it during Zoom calls and no one had any idea!
Why it’s a winner: This nifty silicon device is part pump, part milk collector as it can be used to express milk when your breasts are feeling full, or to ‘catch’ let down from one breast when feeding or pumping from the other side. Our testers praised its “clever suction technology” that works by pressing the silicone pouch to create natural section as well as well as the clear instructions and quick assembly with just 2 parts. Tester Rebecca, mum of a newborn, particularly appreciated that you can wear the Curve inside your bra “which is brilliant if you’re looking after your baby.”
In the words of tester Rebecca, mum of a 1-month-old baby: “I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Elvie Curve worked, given you don’t have to continually press or hold anything for suction. It felt so comfy, I thought it wasn’t working but it did every time and I couldn’t believe how much milk I produced.”
Silver – Tommee Tippee Made for Me Manual Breast Pump, £31.99
Why it’s a winner: Designed for comfort, with a super soft silicon cup that’s gentle on sore breasts, this pump is ergonomically shaped to fit women’s hands. Our tester found the pump “compact”, making it ideal for taking in your handbag or changing bag for on-the-go expressing with no need for batteries, tubes or wires. The instructions are “clear and carefully thought-out, with useful images,” which helped our tester assemble the 7 pump parts. All are dishwasher-safe too.
In the words of the tester Laura: “The silicone cup was comfortable to use and the product is reassuringly BPA-free. The pump fits directly onto Tommee Tippee bottles, so a good investment if you’re already using the brand’s bottles.”
Key features we tested/judged - Texture, ease of use, quality of ingredients and product, worth the money, effectiveness, packaging
Gold – Tommee Tippee Made for Me Nipple Cream, £8.99
A great-value, non-greasy moisturising cream with all-natural ingredients that is easily absorbed
Why it’s a winner: Made from just 3 natural and hypoallergenic ingredients – avocado oil, beeswax and shea butter – this nipple cream looks and feels “luxurious” and as tester Zoe, mum of a 1-month-old baby, was delighted to discover, “is cheaper than other comparable products.” Its texture was key to both mum and baby’s experience with a lighter texture than a lanolin-based product “which makes it easier to squeeze out of the tube and felt less greasy on skin”. Plus, with no scent or taste, you don't have to remove it before every feed.
In the words of tester Zoe, mum of a 1-month-old baby: “My baby dislikes the greasy texture of some nipple creams and is reluctant to latch if I don't wipe it off, but this cream is more easily absorbed by your skin and my baby doesn't seem to notice.”
Joint Silver – Jubblies Reusable Bamboo Nursing Pads, from £2.50 a pair
Why it’s a winner: The breathable bamboo used in these reusable nursing pads is 40% more absorbent than even organic cotton, according to Jubblies, allowing them to absorb excess milk, preventing leaks and keeping delicate skin dry. Tester Rachel, mum of a 1-month-old baby, found she could wear 1 set of the “soft and comfortable” sustainable pads all day with no leaks or wetness. The waterproof patterned back makes it simple to spot the absorbent bamboo side and our testers found them reliable at staying put too.
In the words of the tester Emma, mum of a 3-month-old baby: “Soft, smooth and extremely comfortable, these pads are super absorbent and come in a range of cute designs. The bamboo material feels nice against your skin and in no way irritates it, which is perfect when your nipples are sore from feeding and pumping.”
Buy from: Jubblies
Joint Silver – Elvie Catch, £29.99
Why it’s a winner: This set of 2 silicone milk collection cups is designed to be worn inside your bra to discreetly collect leaked breast milk while you’re feeding or pumping from the other breast – or from both while you’re on the go. “With the Catch, I’m able to save what would have been wasted in a breast pad – and every drop counts,” explained tester Precious, mum of a 1-month-old baby. She was impressed by how much milk each one can collect (up to 1oz), how easy they are to clean in a steriliser and how comfortable they are to wear, with “no squashed or chafing” nipples.
In the words of tester Loira, mum of a 1-month-old baby: “Caught my milk well, sat in my bra comfortably and wasn't visible from the outside. I always leaked lots when feeding on the opposite breast, so had to change soaked breast pads throughout the day. But the Catch means I can collect my precious milk over several hours and use it.”
Bronze – Mama Mio Keep Calm Nipple Balm, £12
Why it’s a winner: A “lovely product made from natural vegan ingredients” – including a vegetable substitute for medical-grade lanolin – packaged in recyclable and sustainable plastic and paper. Tester Caroline, mum of a 1-month-old baby, found “only a small amount” of product was needed to feel the benefits, including calming sore skin and “quickly relieving cracked nipples.” Unlike some other balms, this one isn’t sticky and sinks into skin without leaving any residue, making it ideal to use between and before feeds.
In the words of tester Charlotte, mum of a 1-month-old baby: “The luxurious feel of this balm coupled with the stylish packaging makes it more like a pamper product and less like a necessity. Plus, the ease of application is great – not having to wipe it off before feeding is amazing – and it really did help reduce the soreness of my nipples.”
Shortlisted: Essentiel Vie Mum’s Skin Balm | My Expert Midwife No Harm Nipple Balm
Key features we tested/judged - Comfort, quality, ease of use, design, value for money
Gold – Stylish Mum Breastfeeding Hoodie, £34.99, and matching Kid Hoodie, £19.99
Made feeding in public easier in the cold and my baby looked cosy in her hoodie too
Why it’s a winner: Every mum loves a comfy hooded sweatshirt, and that doesn’t stop just because you’re breastfeeding. This soft and cosy number is a winner as it has a flattering design and comes in a range of fun colours – with mini-me versions available in sizes to fit babies from birth and children up to pre-schooler. Our testers were won over by how the folds of fabric part easily to allow for easy access for breastfeeding but also keep things discreet.
In the words of tester Donna, mum of a 3-month-old baby: “A staple in my breastfeeding wardrobe, as it’s so easy to feed in due to the soft fabric and absence of any zips or clips. I can easily move the sections of fabric apart with one hand and use the other to get my baby into position to feed.”
Buy from: Stylish Mum
Silver – Infinite Mommy Breastfeeding Cover, £75
Why it’s a winner: If you want to breastfeed your baby but are uncomfortable doing so in front of others, this product could be your answer. Rather than draping a muslin or blanket over your chest, you place a “comfortable” leather strap over your neck and drape the soft, organic cotton cover over your you and your baby. The reinforced arched neckline “keeps the fabric pulled away enough to maintain eye contact with your baby to encourage bonding”, explained tester Gemma, mum of a 3-month-old baby, who recommends the cover when “establishing breastfeeding” and “gaining confidence” to feed in public.
In the words of the tester Stacey, mum of a 3-month-old baby: “Well made and simple to use, this cover has a little hoop that allows you to see baby while feeding, massively elevating it from a muslin or scarf. If your priority is privacy for you and baby this really does tick the box!
Buy from: Infinite Mommy
Joint Bronze – Latched – Colour Block Jumper, £38
Why it’s a winner: Described as “Well fitting” and “comfortable and cosy”, this top has 2 concealed zips under the top portion that allowed our tester Kirsty, mum of a 3-month-old baby, to feed her daughter “discreetly.” The zips are so well hidden that you’d be hard-pushed to know it was a breastfeeding top, which suited our tester. “I’d quite happily wear this jumper once my daughter has stopped breastfeeding.”
In the words of tester Charlotte, mum of a 3-month-old baby: “The zips are very easy to open with one hand and the peep holes are just the right size to still be able to partially cover my baby’s face while she’s feeding, so not to have my breasts on show.”
Buy from: Latched
Joint Bronze – Bshirt Lift the Flap Vest – lace free, £19.99
Why it’s a winner: Made from certified organic cotton, this vest is soft, comfortable and simple to use. “It’s so easy to lift the flap and bring her to the breast,” explained tester Bethany, mum of a 2-month-old baby, who also praised the “lovely thick, good quality fabric.” The flattering vest looks great over jeans and worn under your existing wardrobe, where it “helps convert tops and dresses into breastfeeding-friendly clothes” without having to buy new clothes.
In the words of tester Judy, mum of a 1-month-old baby: “This well-made vest looks good on and is effective at allowing me to quickly feed without being totally exposed. I'd happily buy another as it's so comfortable to wear.”
Buy from: The Bshirt
Key features we tested/judge - Effectiveness, ease of use, ease of cleaning, quality, value for money
Gold – Vital Baby NURTURE breast like feeding bottles, £4.99-£9.99
Brilliant quality and design, with teats that mimic mum that my baby took to straight away
Why it’s a winner: This bottle has been designed to help stop nipple confusion for combination-fed babies, with a breast-like teat that bends and flexes like mum’s nipple to help make latching easier. Our testers found their babies readily accepting the teats and happily switched between breast and bottle. The triple anti-colic valves that reduce air intake really impressed our testers too. One commented that her baby “seemed less colicky after feeding”, while another noticed “a positive change” to trapped wind in her baby’s tummy after using these bottles. Reassuringly, the tight-fitting lids “never leaked” and the wide opening of the bottle makes them “very easy to clean.”
In the words of tester Krisztina, mum of a 3-month-old baby: “We tried to offer my baby 3 different anti-colic bottles with breast-like teats several times a day. After 3 days, Vital Baby was the only one that she’d accept. It's a massive win for us as I know if I ever leave the house, she'll accept a bottle from daddy.”
Joint Silver – Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottle, from £7
Why it’s a winner: Described by our mum testers as “comfortable to use” and “good quality”, this bottle impressed our testers with its smooth silicone teat that has a breast-like shape. “My son took the teat straight away with no fuss” said tester Charlotte, mum a 3-month-old baby, who was “pleasantly surprised” that the bottle didn’t leak, unlike others she’d tried. The anti-colic valve in the teat reduces the amount of air that your baby takes in and you can choose from a wide range of sizes, colours and designs, including bright hues and cute character drawings.
In the words of the tester Becky, mum of a 3-month-old baby: “This bottle has a great design, with an effective anti-colic valve and a comfortable, easy-hold shape. The multi-packs are excellent value for money and, having used them with all my children, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone.”
Joint Silver – NUK First Choice+ Baby Bottle with Temperature Control, from £5.59
Why it’s a winner: Praised for “taking the guesswork out of feeding” when making milk feeds up with hot water and powder, this smart bottle features a built-in temperature control indicator on the graduation marks that changes from blue to white when the bottle’s contents are too hot for you baby to safely drink (over 37°C). The bottle also comes with an orthodontic teat which is modelled on a mother’s nipple, for fuss-free latching and contented sucking. “My daughter took to the teat shape easily and enjoyed drinking from it,” commented tester Caroline, mum of a 6-month-old baby.
In the words of the tester Nikki, mum of a 4-month-old baby: “Using the bottle was a breeze and my daughter loved drinking from it. It provided me with a clear indication when the liquid inside was too hot for my baby to drink, making temperature control easy. I also found the teat shape was easy for my baby to latch onto.”
Bronze – Philips Avent Anti-Colic Bottles, £22.99 for set of 3 bottles
Why it’s a winner: This bottle features a unique green vent that is designed to draw away from the teat, so your baby swallows less air while drinking. Once our testers got the hang of positioning it in the bottle, they found it “very easy to assemble” and loved that fewer parts meant it was quicker to make up, take apart and sterilise. They also found the vent to be effective at easing the painful symptoms of colic and reflux in their babies, which was a relief for everyone.
In the words of the tester Joanne, mum of a 2-month-old baby: “These bottles are good quality and deliver great results. We have seen a massive improvement in our daughter’s colic symptoms post-feed since using these brilliant bottles. She has fewer and shorter distressed periods after a feed and winding her has become a lot easier. ”
Shortlisted: Mam Easy Start Anti Colic Bottles
Bottle feeding accessory
Key features we tested – Effectiveness, ease of use, features, efficiency, worth the money
Gold – Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Night and Day, £130
After trying various ways of making formula feeds, this is by far the easiest, quickest and most simple way - I couldn't live without it!
Why it’s a winner: This machine cuts down the time taken to prepare a bottle of formula to just a couple of minutes, by adding a “hot shot” to kill bacteria, before topping up with cold filtered water to get it to the perfect temperature. Parents still keep some control – you’ll need to scoop and measure the formula and give the bottle a shake halfway through the process – but there’s no denying this is a speedy way to prepare a bottle for a screaming baby (and yes, it can be done one-handed). The Day & Night machine has adjustable volume control and special lights for use in the dark, to make those night feeds as simple as possible. Our parents loved the ease of use and the fact it dispenses a perfect bottle every time.
In the words of tester Lauren, mum of a 6-month-old: “Overall, a superb easy-to-use machine despite its hefty price tag. The prep machine is definitely worth the money for the quick access to a fresh bottle in a matter of minutes compared to the lengthy process of boiling the kettle and waiting for it to cool.”
Silver – Nuk Baby Bottle Cleanser, £3.99
Why it’s a winner: If you’ve ever left a baby bottle in the sink overnight without rinsing it, you’ll know just how important it is to have a good bottle detergent on hand. “I usually soak my bottles overnight, wash and sterilise them the next morning,” said Sashara, mum of a 5-month-old. “With this product I didn’t have to soak them overnight.” Formulated using enzymes that break down milk proteins to leave your bottles squeaky clean, our testers loved that this was gentle for babies, but strong enough to tackle even notoriously grainy and hard-to-shift hydrolised formula residue.
In the words of tester Rebecca, mum of an 11-month-old: “The NUK Bottle Cleanser is amazing because it ensures all the bits of formula come off effectively without the use of harsh chemicals. We buy it all the time now because it works wonders! It’s an absolute must especially if you’ve got a baby on specialised milk like us.”
Bronze – Nuby Rapid Cool, £39.99
Why it’s a winner: This is an ingenious invention that drastically reduces the time it takes to cool a bottle ready to serve. We love that it doesn’t require electricity: the clever flask quickly takes the heat out of a boiling-hot feed with a simple shake. Then you just transfer the formula to your baby’s bottle and let it cool for a few more minutes. As they need to be sterilised and left to recharge after use, the kit contains 2 flasks to ensure you always have one ready for the next feed. You also get a third insulated flask for out and about. In our tests the formula came out perfectly but it is worth checking with the manufacturer if your child uses a special formula such as those for reflux.
In the words of Kim, mum of 4: “Very stylish, very easy to use and doesn't require a filter or any additional purchases. I love that it’s very small so great for when we are out for the day. The insulated flask keeps the milk at a perfect temperature until needed so no panic to use straight away too.”
Buy from: Boots
Shortlisted: Baby Brezza Formula Pro Advanced
Key features we tested/judged - Ease of use, value for money, quality, effectiveness, capacity, versatility
Gold – Nuby UV Steriliser, £89.99
Sleek, simple to use and fast – it sterilises in just 3 minutes!
Why it’s a winner: This innovative steriliser uses ultraviolet light to blast bacteria, removing the need for extra steps like measuring water or making up a chemical sterilising solution. Bottles or other items – you can pop toys, breast pump parts and even your mobile phone inside, so long as they’re dry – come out clean, dry and ready to go in 3 minutes as there’s no heat involved. Our testers loved the “neutral grey” wipe-clean exterior and “useful” carry handle on top.
In the words of tester Georgina, mum of a 6-month-old baby: “The ease and speed of this machine makes it well worth the money, and there's no need for descaling or cleaning after each cycle. It is a massive time-saver and will make your life easier.”
Silver – Vital Baby Nurture Pro UV Steriliser & Dryer, £119.99
Why it’s a winner: Energy efficient (UV sterilisation uses less energy than steam) and safer than steam (there’s no chance of getting burnt), this steriliser kills virtually all bacteria and viruses with ultraviolet light in 11 minutes. It has 4 functions, including one that dries items before sterilising them so you can pop freshly washed bottles and teats into the box. There’s also a store mode, which keeps items hygienic for up to 72 hours by running a shorter cycle each hour to keep the contents sterile. The Nurture is versatile, too: it can even sterilise make-up brushes and remote controls.
In the words of tester Jessica, mum of a 5-month-old baby: “This is a brilliant steriliser that’s easy to set up with clear instructions. I really like the touchscreen display that shows how long is left. It’s a hassle-free way of drying and sterilising bottles and other baby equipment.”
Joint Bronze – Nuby Portable UV Steriliser, £120
Why it’s a winner: Taking the revolutionary concept of UV sterilising in just 3 minutes on the move, this portable product wowed our testers with its ability to run through 17 cycles on one battery charge. The steriliser is concealed in a bag that’s “lightweight and can fit under a pram”, making it “perfect for days out, weekends away and holidays, too”, according to our tester Kelly, mum of a 5-month-old baby. She found the storage pocket in the lower half of the bag handy for keeping baby toys and snacks useful, but most loved “that you don’t need to wait for the items to cool down before you can use them.”
In the words of tester Helen, mum of a 7-month-old baby: “Unlike a steam steriliser, the Nuby can sterilise pretty much anything. At this time, I found it particularly comforting to know that I could sterilise my phone, baby toys and other bits of baby paraphernalia as an extra precaution.”
Joint Bronze – Philips Avent 4-in-1 Steriliser, £79.99
Why it’s a winner: The adaptable design of this 4-in-1 electric steam steriliser means you can adjust its size, whether you’re sterilising just a few items or a full load. Its compact and slimline “does not take up a lot of room on the work surface”, so is great for those who are short on kitchen counter space. Both testers praised the handy addition of a dishwasher basket too, which you can use to wash smaller items like soothers or even small bottles and post-wash place directly into the steriliser.
In the words of tester Natalia, mum of a 5-month-old baby: “The steriliser itself is very easy to set up and easy to use with each section having indicators for what goes where. It’s quick, efficient and has a fast cycle which is superb for when you need a clean bottle quickly.”
Buy from: Amazon
Shortlisted: Tommee Tippee Ultra UV 3-in-1 Steriliser, Dryer and Storage